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IBM donates Young Explorer computers to Tinker Elementary

by Senior Airman Robin Drake
Thunderbolt staff writer
Photo by Senior Airman Robin Drake

Victoria Leto, 3, and Zachary Wood, 5, are both enrolled in the summer pre-kindergarten program at Tinker Elementary and enjoy being the first students to use the new computers.

For the children attending kindergarten at Tinker Elementary this fall a few surprises await their arrival. IBM donated six brand new computers and educational software to the school July 22.

The Young Explorer computers are part of the new IBM KidSmart Early Learning Center and designed for children in the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten age range. The computers are encased in Little Tikes furniture and include a bench for sitting. A big touch pad keyboard is enclosed making it easier for children to manipulate.

"The software is all educational award-winning software. It includes materials needed for reading, alphabet learning and recognition," said Linda J. Wizner, IBM program director for IT Analyst Relations.

The software contains colorful, stimulating and interactive programs and graphics that are easily understood by young children allowing them a jumpstart on learning.

"Children are very motivated by technology and the new computers will offer technology assisted instruction," said Cheryl Tyo, Tinker Elementary principal.

Current and retired IBM employees along with faculty and staff from Tinker Elementary worked together to assemble and install the new computers in preparation for the upcoming school year.

There are greater challenges for students at Tinker because they are on a constant move with having a parent or both parents in the military. Anything that can be done to make the experience better while they are here is a great thing said Ms. Wizner.

"The KidSmart Early Learning Center is a proven success in accelerating young students' familiarity and usage of technology in the classroom," said Stuart Bean, IBM Tampa's senior location executive. "IBM is committed to helping close the 'digital divide' wherever possible."

In addition to Tinker Elementary, IBM has installed more than 50 Young Explorer computers throughout the Greater Tampa Bay area.

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